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Ruses WWE Raw Review: 28th December 2009
by David Ruse on 30 December 2009

With Hulk Hogan making his TNA bow at the same time, Vince McMahon has pulled out all the stops to ensure that Raw wins the ratings war next Monday night. Jeri-Show will get their deserved rematch against DX, while Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston will also settle their scintillating rivalry.

But as terrific as those matches may be, there is no doubting the premier reason wrestling fans will shun the Hulkster for the WWE – the return of Bret Hart. After intense speculation, McMahon finally confirmed the Hitman would end his WWE exile by hosting the next instalment of Raw, and try as he might, even Hogan, a master of self-promotion, may not be able to drum up enough support to top that.

He would have had a chance if Vince had overseen a slapdash Monday night but that was not the case, this week’s Raw built up the following chapter perfectly. The mischievous escapades of weeks gone by were not totally eradicated but they were significantly reduced, allowing more serious storylines to prosper.

Hart’s emergence was centric to the evening and it was handled excellently by McMahon and the Hitman’s other great foe, Shawn Michaels. The tremendous video package highlighting Bret’s career allowed fans who love the man to reminisce, and fans who are not that aware of the man to understand why he is so revered, and, naturally, to comprehend the bad blood that was created through the Montreal Screwjob.

Vince teased the expectant WWE zealots, insisting there was no way Hart would return to his company, but after some coxing from Michaels, finally told us what we wanted to hear – that Bret would be back. That alone will be enough for many of us to be glued but if the Hitman is utilised correctly by McMahon and co, he could seriously reinvigorate many disillusioned fans. This is a golden opportunity Vince, please don’t waste it.

The show was not all about Bret though. John Cena tried his darnedest to prise the WWE title off Sheamus’ shoulders, but saw his dreams shattered when the Celtic Warrior tugged the referee’s shirt, forcing a disqualification. Their match – a standard bout after the Irishman had backed away from another tables contest earlier that night – was solid, but it was after the bell, when he laid out his opponent and stood defiantly with the strap, that the ginger-haired philistine looked most convincing.

Cena will be absent from next week’s extravaganza, so it will be interesting to see what Sheamus’ role is. Does he move on to a different challenger or will the Chain Gang Soldier still find a way to continue their feud? Due to other potential rivals having business elsewhere, the latter looks the most likely.

Legacy came back to the fore on Monday, after being told by their leader to prove their worth. They both succeeded. Ted DiBiase saw off a spirited Evan Bourne, while Cody Rhodes overcame a huge size disadvantage to defeat Mark Henry. The camp looks far from harmonious though. Orton’s team-mates reacted indifferently to their abilities being questioned and a parting of the ways seems imminent. Whether it’s Cody, Ted or both, who switch to facedom, it should be a storyline worth keeping tabs on.

That may be in Randy Orton’s future but his present isn’t too shabby either. After costing Kofi Kingston the United States title during the Ghanaian’s energetic contest with the Miz, the Viper announced they would settle matters next week. Let’s hope it caps off what has been a stunning programme.

The same can be said for DX v Jeri-show. Their feud has been a good one, despite the continued presence of Hornswoggle, and with four men of such experience in the ring, they are unlikely to disappoint. Jericho will finally depart Raw if he loses, so expect some shenanigans that see him and his prodigious partner reclaim the titles.

Timbaland was the guest host and did a reasonable job, entering the fray when he needed to and keeping out of it for the most part but he won’t be a patch on next week. When Bret’s music hits, the crowd will erupt and the roof will metaphorically rise. Sorry Hogan, you are coming second this time.

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